The man who has been on death row for the past 21 years for raping and murdering his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter was granted reprieve Thursday by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.
In April 1995, Clark Richard Elmore raped Kristy Ohnstad, choked her until she passed out, drove a metal skewer through her skull, beat her with a sledgehammer, and then dumped her body in the woods.
Elmore was sentenced to death on May 3, 1996 after the jury found no good cause to show leniency in the case.
Elmore has appealed the sentence for the past two decades, and it wasn’t until this Thursday that Inslee halted his execution.
“Governor Inslee has been very consistent that his moratorium on the death penalty cases in Washington isn’t about individual cases,” reads a statement released Thursday by the Governor’s office.
“As he stated when he announced the moratorium in 2014, the action is based on the governor’s belief that the use of capital punishment across the state is inconsistent and unequally applied – sometimes dependent on the budget of the county where the crime occurred.”
The statement also added that Kristy’s family said they would prefer Elmore spend life in prison.
In a statement, Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said he was “disappointed” by the governor’s actions.
“I am disappointed that after 21 years of appeals, in which the sentence of death has been upheld by the highest courts in the state and the United States, the governor has derailed the sentence.”
Any governor elected after Inslee can cancel the reprieve and have the execution of Elmore carried out.
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